TIL that in 1843, when Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. correctly concluded that “childbed fever” was transmitted between patients by germs on doctors’ hands, he was ridiculed. Sir Frederick Treves compared a doctor washing his hands to an executioner manicuring his nails before an execution.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_infections

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  1. His metaphor implies that a doctor’s job is specifically to kill his patients. Whether they knew about germs or not, I don’t know how Frederick Treves was able to keep his job after that comment.

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